As Lemony Snicket says in the Blank Book, “Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have”.
Most people try to build a productive morning routine so that the productiveness persists throughout the day, keeping them energized and motivated. When you have a productive day, you go to bed feeling satisfied with all your accomplishments. However, having a morning routine is so much more than being able to do everything on your to-do list or feeling fulfilled by the end of the day.
Mornings have the power to impact your mental health, make you an optimistic, hopeful, proactive, and a healthy person when you do the right things. Doing so, you are setting a strong base for the rest of the day. A powerful morning routine can make a stressful day ahead look less stressful. If you’ve had a bad day, your morning routine and all the amazing things you could accomplish in the morning make it less of a bad day, thus dissipating all the negative feelings like demotivation, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and feeling beaten down.
What makes your morning routine powerful and more impactful depends on how diligently and consciously you build the routine. If you’ve just set out to build one for yourself, knowing a few things about healthy morning routines, elements that you can inculcate, and steps that you can follow can help you adapt to an early morning routine better. Here’s everything that you need to know about morning routines and building a perfect routine that can fit your personal goals.
What it Takes to Have a Morning Routine?
There are countless books, videos, blogs, and quotes that talk about having a morning routine and how beneficial it can be. While the content of these books, videos, etc. can be quite appealing, what matters is how ready you are to implement all of it. With that said, building a morning routine is only possible when you consciously commit yourself to it. Here are a few factors that are needed to build a morning routine-
- The “WHY” factor- See if you have a genuine answer to why you need a morning routine and the benefits that it can bring you. This will keep you motivated.
- Intention- Waking up in the morning can feel like sailing upstream, and unless you do it with intention, every day will become a struggle right from the morning.
- Patience- If you have been waking up late, it would hardly change in a day. You will have to be patient, and allow the change to happen in bits and pieces.
- Consistency- While you should pat yourself for being able to wake up early for a few days, it is very crucial to ask yourself if you can keep up with it in the longer run.
- Perseverance- It won’t be easy to wake up early and stay motivated each day. However, you will need unshakable perseverance to reason with yourself in the morning to stick to the habit.
What is a Holistic Morning Routine?
What differentiates a morning routine from a powerful morning routine is the amount of effort and thoughtfulness you put into deciding all the tasks for the morning. There are people who wake up early in the morning and scroll through their Instagram aimlessly in the bed and there are people who wake up to have a cup of tea and listen to an inspirational podcast while preparing breakfast.
The difference between the two routines is intention, thoughtfulness, and the kind of impact both the routines can have on the rest of your day.
A holistic approach helps you look at your morning routine from every perspective so that it benefits you in a range of ways. While there are four elements that contribute to a holistic morning routine, you can personalize your routine strictly based on what you want from it. Here are the four elements-
The Mental Element
The mental element encompasses everything related to the mind, like your thoughts, goals, plans that lead to the goals, your desires, focus, etc. When it comes to the mental aspect of your morning routine, it should be such that your mind is in the right place as you set out to start your day. Doing a few things related to all the aspects that we have listed can help you achieve that. The following are the things you can include in your morning routine to feel mentally uplifted.
- Read a book for 10 minutes, something that makes you want to get things done.
- Listen to a podcast while you are at your daily chores in the morning.
- Make a list of things you plan to do throughout the day.
- Mark your calendar with important meetings/events.
These are a few things that consciously lead you closer to your goals, make it clearer what you have to accomplish in a day and make you feel motivated right from the start of the day.
The Physical Element
Mind and body are connected, and to have a sense of balance, it is just as important to focus on the physical aspect of it as is to focus on the mental element. The physical element encapsulates your own physical being and the physical space surrounding you. So, following are a few things that can contribute to a happy morning-
- Make your bed, it clears any mental clutter and stops you from going back to bed again.
- Move your body. It can be yoga, walking, jogging, stretching, warmup exercises, or a full-fledged workout session- anything that suits you.
- Have a cup of tea, coffee, or lemon water to feel more awake and fresher.
- Consider earthing. Earthing is the act of walking barefoot on grass, rock, or even indoors with an earthing product. It offers various health benefits.
- Have a wholesome breakfast.
The Emotional Element
The emotional element is all about your feelings and emotions. Anything that can invoke positive emotions in you as you begin your day deserves to be a part of your daily routine. Positive emotions can leave you feeling more productive, and many studies in the corporate context do prove that emotions and productivity are correlated. If you do a few things in the morning to regulate your emotions, you might be able to feel more positive throughout the day.
- Count your blessings. You can have a gratitude journal or you can also express your gratitude verbally in the morning.
- Have breakfast with your family. It can be your partner, kids, or your roommate.
- Hug someone close to you. Hugging helps your body release oxytocin, which is popularly called the feel-good hormone.
- Play the kind of music that makes you feel good.
The Spiritual Element
When your morning routine takes into consideration the spiritual element of your well-being, you’re inspired on a deeper level to be goal-oriented, healthy, and in a good space in all ways. Inspiration translates to “in spirit” and it doesn’t necessarily have to be about religion. However, if you equate spirituality with religion or derive energy and positivity out of your religious practices, it can be amazing to make it a part of your morning routine.
- Connect with nature. Take a walk in a park, go for your little gardening routine, or just be in your balcony looking at the sky, sun, and clouds. Nature brings us closer to our core selves.
- Practice mindfulness. You can spend a little bit of time, even a few minutes meditating.
- Read a few pages of the Bhagwat Gita, the Bible, the Quran, or any book that you are interested in studying.
- Spend some time to write a journal, this can help you connect with yourself better.
These are the four elements that, when become a part of your morning routine, can help you move towards overall well-being and balance in the long run. While some of the points might appeal to some people, some might not. So, it is best for you to take a look and see what points you’d want to pick and add to your morning routine for a happy morning. Feel free to customize your daily routine and add more to it.
How to Create a Morning Routine
Now that you know what a wholesome morning routine looks like, you must be having a certain picture of the perfect morning times. If you’re not quite sure about going ahead with that hazy picture, there are a few steps that you can follow that will help you systematically create the best early morning routine. Here are the steps that you can follow-
Step 1- Make a List
It all starts with a list because making a list will give you the kind of clarity you are looking for. When you have it right in front of you, you will be able to visualize your morning routine better. When you make a list of morning routine ideas, take into account what your home chores are, what your work or school routine is, and decide a time to wake up so that you can fit a healthy morning routine in your day without having to rush to work or school right after you get up.
If you’re looking for inspiration or a little help, my ideal morning routine looks something like this. I start my day by tidying my bed and folding the blanket and get to very basic stretching. Then I brush my teeth and have a cup of coffee while making a list of what I have to accomplish throughout the day work-wise and school-wise. This is followed by breakfast time with family. I also have a gratitude journal that I use for mentioning three things that I am grateful for each day. I also read a few pages of a book right in the morning. I take a shower and get to work after my little morning routine.
This is it. A morning routine doesn’t have to be very fancy. However, it should consist of things that matter to you and tasks that energize you and leave you feeling positive.
Step 2- Order the Tasks
Once you have it all on your list, see in what order you would want to pursue the tasks. While some people go for exercise right off the bat when they’re up, it might not be the first thing you do in the morning that makes you feel comfortable. So, see which task fits where in your day.
While that’s about ordering tasks and creating a perfect morning routine chart, you may also take time each morning to order things that you have to do on that day. This will make you feel more sorted for the entire day, knowing where your day is going. This is also a sensible thing to do if you find yourself procrastinating.
Step 3- Assign Approximate Time-frame for Each Task
This is easy. Once you have all the tasks on your list, all you have to do is figure out how much time each of the tasks would roughly take, that is if you want to be a little more exact about your morning routine or, in general, your daily routine. You can allow yourself to be a bit flexible with the duration so that you don’t end up feeling more demotivated than motivated.
Step 4- Create Boundaries
Creating boundaries means knowing what not to do in the morning so that you can save your morning routine for things that matter to you. Oftentimes, when we do certain things in the morning, they seem to hijack the entire routine as we aimlessly pursue the activity, and they seldom add actual value to our lives.
Some of these activities may be scrolling through social media, watching the news that can negatively impact you, watching a show just to kill time, etc. Your mornings can be the most mentally, physically, and intellectually stimulating time of the day, so killing time in the morning might stifle your productivity. So, come up with a rough list of things that you intend to refrain from doing right at the start of the day so that your productivity doesn’t dissipate.
Step 5- Create Rewards for Yourself
If you find it incredibly impossible to get out of bed and not climb right back in, you might need to trick yourself into waking up early, staying awake, and following your morning routine. This is why you should strategically place a reward for yourself somewhere in between a set of tasks that you have. However, your reward can be placed right at the start of the day or towards the end of your morning ritual based on what part of the routine seems difficult to you.
If you find it hard to wake up, you might need to feel rewarded as soon as you get up. However, if you’re trying to keep up with your morning routine, you can as well reward yourself after you’ve diligently followed your routine. Rewards can be your favorite smoothie, coffee, your favorite playlist, doing something artistic for a while, or reading a book that excites you.
In case you fail to wake up early and skip your carefully curated morning routine, you can also punish yourself by going on a “no social media day” or “no dessert for the day”- anything that makes you want to stick to your routine. However, this is completely optional if you’re really determined.
Prepping for a Morning Routine the Day Before
The right kind of morning routine doesn’t just happen in the morning. It starts with the right habits that you follow a night before to prepare you for all the amazingness that comes with your creative mornings. If you’re not very sure as to how you can prep for the morning a night before, here are a few tips that will give you ideas about how to start a morning routine the right way with the right habits.
- Limit your screen time, especially before you go to bed. This might sound very cliched, but it indeed is true, and there’s a scientific explanation as to why.
- Have a cup of chamomile tea or apply a drop or two of lavender essential oil to your wrists and neck to help fix your sleep pattern if it’s gone astray.
- Have an active day and limit your noontime naps so that you’re tired enough to have an uninterrupted sleep at night.
- Have your early morning routine in place so that you wake up with a sorted mind.
- Keep the alarm across your room if you’re guilty of snoozing. As an alternative, you can use this app that can help you get out of the habit of snoozing with a math puzzle that it asks you to solve to stop your phone from ringing.
- Read several pages of a book that inspires you to live a healthy and wholesome life before you hit the sack. Books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Ikigai, and similar kinds might help.
- Have faith in yourself even as you go to bed.
Quick Tips to Do it Better
If you’ve tried for long enough and are still unable to maintain the habit of falling into a perfect morning routine, you might need some help in doing so. Little things that you do might help you slowly transition into a person who looks forward to waking up early and dealing with life with vigor and optimism. These are a few things that you can try-
- Look for inspiration. It could be some quotes coming from successful people stuck to your wall to keep you consistently motivated.
- Use your phone for your benefit. These are apps for morning yoga routine, meditation, smart alarms, and so much more that can get you into action.
- Read books like My Morning Routine by Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander to have more ideas as to how you can build one for yourself.
- Have your roommate, spouse, parents, or sibling help you with waking up early.
- Forgive yourself if you initially are unable to keep up with every task on your morning routine list. This will help you start the next day without having self-doubts.
This was all about building a powerful morning routine that helps you adopt a healthier lifestyle physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, making you a more productive person as a whole. You might sense a feeling of inertia as you start because that is exactly how forming a new habit and replacing an already existing routine (or tendency) feels. However, give yourself time and understand your body and mind. Take inspiration but don’t blatantly copy other’s routines because we’re all different, have different preferences, and most importantly, you’re doing it for yourself.